Hundreds of Palestinians held by Israel launch hunger strike

by Garry Watts April 18, 2017, 2:08

Some 1,500 Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel are expected to participate in a mass hunger strike on Monday to press for basic rights and shed light on the hard humanitarian conditions inside Israeli prisons. "There will be an update later."Barghouti is now serving five life sentences for his role in murderous terror attacks during the Second Intifada in the early 2000s".

According to the Israeli Prison Service, 700 Palestinian prisoners have declared that they will join the hunger strike, a number that the service expects to increase in coming days.

"After consultations with prisoners of various factions, PPP-affiliated prisoners chose to join the battle for freedom and dignity on April 17, which coincides with Palestinian Prisoner's Day".

The New York Times has given precious space on its op-ed page to a Palestinian man leading a hunger strike in an Israeli prison. Palestine views the inmates as political prisoners, while Israel has charged them with attacking nationals and other grave offences.

A series of protests were also held in Palestinian cities in connection with Prisoners Day, including one in Bethlehem that led to clashes with Israeli forces.

Many prisoners suffer from medical negligence in jails.

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"It is unlawful and cruel and the consequences for the imprisoned person and their loved ones, who are often deprived from seeing them for months, and at times for years on end, can be devastating", Mughrabi added. "The prisoners are demanding improved conditions like regular family visits, improved medical care, and an end to the practice of holding hundreds of detainees without charge". The Palestinian Prisoners Club put the number at 1,500.

At the Ofer Prison near Ramallah a total of 11 protesters were injured, including the five by live fire, Israel's Channel 10 reported. Palestinian political prisoners and detainees are systematically subjected to torture and ill-treatment with continued impunity - highlighting the need for more solidarity actions from people around the globe to call for immediate release of all Palestinian political prisoners, long-denied their basic rights.

"I have instructed the prison service to act in any way to contain the strike within the walls of the prisons and the Israel Police to prepare and provide any help needed to the prison service for any scenario that is likely to develop", said Erdan following the discussions.

In recent years, previous Palestinian hunger strikers in Israeli custody have come close to death and had to be hospitalized.

Opinion polls indicate that Barghouti enjoys widespread support in his quest to replace Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.

Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts have been at a standstill since a US-led initiative collapsed three years ago.

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